love is a gas. marriage for love is even more ridiculous.
think about this: the u.s., obviously being one of the most powerful and non-conformist countries in the world (in comparison to other countries whose citizens drive on the left side of the road and use the metric system), is one of the few countries that holds this cultural ideal of marrying for love. i guess this concept has become more popular in the last century or so among allegedly “civilised” countries, but there are a lot of cultures that still have arranged marriages today; and it wasn’t so long ago that marriages in the u.s. were arranged for economic and social gain. what was wrong with this system? nothing, in my opinion.
i think this shift goes along with the very american ideal of individualism, of feeling like you have the freedom to make decisions for yourself and feeling empowered by that. arranged marriages are strategic and are meant to benefit both families involved; it’s meant to be a partnership, though not necessarily a romantic one, between the man and woman to provide both with something that’s necessary/desirable to them: financial stability and support for the woman, and a way to carry on the family name by creating offspring for the man. everybody wins.
love, in the words of pat benatar, is a battlefield. love is so fleeting and entirely situational; even the lexicon surrounding it points to its instability: if one can “fall in love,” isn’t it just as easy to “fall out of love”? i think so. i don’t think marriage requires both parties to be in love; i think it just requires mutual respect and appreciation. and don’t you think it’s entirely likely that, even if you didn’t start with them, that some kind of affectionate feeling resembling love would grow in you toward the woman who bore your children or the man who keeps you and your children fed and clothed and monetarily sound? i’ve often heard it said of the british court that they marry the person they’re supposed to, and in private they sleep with the person they love. i’m not saying that this is the way to go about it or that i think infidelity is okay; rather, marriage is strictly nominal for these people, as opposed to americans who choose their spouses based on “love,” and a partial function of marriage being to proclaim that “love” to other people. interestingly enough, half of the marriages in the u.s. end in divorce… coincidence?